Sugars can be snuck into a lot of your favorite food items above & beyond the obvious cakes & donuts. So how do you decide whether or not a product has added sugars? Don’t fear! Read more below to find out.
First off, why do you want to consume less ADDED sugar? When you eat foods high in added sugars, you are likely consuming a product high in calories, low in fiber, & low in protein. Therefore, you aren’t leaving room in your diet for the “good stuff”… think fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats. Also, eating less is associated with lower rates of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
So how can you determine where added sugars are coming from? Unfortunately, as stated above, added sugars aren’t just found in those cookies & sodas. So while swapping those out for fruit & water is a great step, you’ll likely need to dig a little deeper to find them in foods you wouldn’t expect.
Where to look?! Check the NUTRITION FACTS LABEL first. Under “carbohydrates” there will be a category for sugars, and then another sub category for ADDED SUGARS. That’s what you want to look at. Due to an awesome & REQUIRED revamp of the label, manufacturers have to spell out how much sugar in their product is ADDED sugar! This is huge for you as a consumer because it is a quick “glance” to show you what you need to know! #winning
After checking the label, review the INGREDIENTS LIST. If you see any of the following ingredients in the list, there is an added sugar in the product…
- Sugar, cane sugar, agave sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, “anything” sugar…
- Evaporated cane juice, crystal solids, honey, raw honey
- Syrups, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, brown rice syrup
These sugars basically sweeten the product but don’t really have any other nutritional value for your body. It is recommended to consume less than 10% of your daily calorie needs in added sugars. For most adults that’s around 35-50 grams & for young kids 25-35 grams, depending on individual needs.
Lastly, common sources of added sugars include the obvious sweetened beverages, sodas, cereals, candy, chocolates, flavored yogurt, and baked goods. However, make sure to check these products too:
- “Healthy” cereals & granola
- Instant flavored oatmeal
- Frozen foods, especially fruits
- Granola bars, cereal bars, protein bars
- Pasta sauce & marinara – a BIGGIE
- Dried fruit, canned fruit, applesauce, and fruit juices
- Baby food (sadly)
- Condiments like ketchup, BBQ, & salad dressing
Take home message: The next time you head to the grocery store, use these tools to check out what is in your food. Focus on choosing more fruits, veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein, & healthy fats… & by default you’ll have chosen food with low added sugars.
So, are you ready to build a healthier lifestyle with the whole family? Let me know! Schedule your complimentary Discovery Call today by clicking HERE. Reach out to [email protected] with any questions!